Topic: Abelard and Heloise’s Differing Opinions of Love, Sex and Sin

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Topic: Abelard and Heloise’s Differing Opinions of Love, Sex and Sin

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Heloise and Abelard’s love story has received critics and it has generated to be a topic of research to settle some of the doubt and disbeliefs to rest. Letters and texts have been placed under scrutiny as many had differing opinions of the actual writer of the letters sent to Abelard as they addressed the stance on marriage and free love, (Classen, 2003). From their son’s point of view, the historical novels revels the importance of the bond of love that exists between the husband and wife as well as the importance of the same bond between the parents and children. As well in the society marriage should not be kept as a secret from the family members, this is to say that love is not a secret as the punishment to Abelard for doing this was his castration.

Abelard’s life is full of love for both God and his wife as he dedicated his inner life to them. He had serious faith in Christ as well as an ardent love for his wife. On the other hand, keeping this love a secret and hence the marriage was also a secret was not acceptable to Abelard’s father and the fatherly infernally poisonous jealousy lead to the forceful castration of Abelard. Heloise’s love is so intense and described as the love that would lead to worshipping a lover and as she is sent to a convent, she resorts to letter writing to her lover.

Astrolabe, Abelard’s son is seen as the distant link between him and Heloise as he admires his intellectual similarities while also failing to full recognize him as his son though this trinity is connected through secrecy and profound love. Heloise is imprisoned in a convent out of her own free will and though Abelard’s love and passion is almost nil he takes a mistress to fulfill his experience passion and sexual love. This imprisonment can be attributed to the actions of Abelard’s action of making her pregnant before marriage and the son really questions her mother’s intention in being a nun in the true power and extent of love, and the meaning of love. The son could not understand the love Heloise had for Abelard, so intense to have blinded her not to see his shortcomings such as his cantankerousness, his megalomania, his vanity, his ingratitude and arrogance. At one time, blasphemy could have led to her expulsion from convent for her absolute love for Abelard is said to have exceeded the utmost possible for a human being, such love viewed to exceed love for God. She loved wholeheartedly and Classen (2003) describes as love with body and soul, in complete devotion as he thinks that it is only a woman who loves like that. This loves is for themselves only as they seem not to have much live for their child as Astrolabe even dreams of killing his father not out of hate but out of love, wild jealous love for the parents.

According to Porter, (2000), Aberlards definition of sin is nothing other than to hold the creator in contempt, not to do for his sake what should be done for his sake or rather nit go forego for his sake that which we believe should be foregone. His understanding is reacting against the view of the early medieval penitential, which understood sin in terms of wrong doing without much regard for the agent’s motives or intentions, (Leclercq, 1973). At his time, 12th century, he was not the only one with this different view and the period can be described to have had widespread uncertainty about sin and penance though these issues were of practical concern to the society. Critically evaluating his understanding reveals that his case for sin is the fault of the soul which is rendered guilt before God as the desire to perform a sinful act itself cannot be considered as sin. His stance on moral accountability has implications for moral accountability, the legitimacy of punishment and the practice of penance are based on the consent of the soul through which the creator is held in contempt. Desire, just the desire for pleasure rather than engaging in the sinful pleasure cannot be regarded as sin as no bad or good has already taken place, it’s just a will.

Abelard’s writing on sin is rather an intervention on debates, rather than a challenge to the generally accepted views but at the same time represents a break with one strand.............


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